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UK tech sector growth outpaced US and China in 2019

By Hugh Wilson

UK technology companies secure a third of all investments raised in Europe

Investment in the UK’s tech sector hit a new record high in 2019, and included the creation of eight new unicorn companies.

The UK tech sector secured $13.2bn (£10.1bn, €11.8bn) in investment last year, with venture capital funding leaping 44 per cent over 2018 figures. Growth in the UK tech sector outstripped that in the US, China, Germany and France.

The figures, prepared for the UK Government’s Digital Economy Council and Tech Nation, show that the UK secured 33 per cent of all tech investment in Europe. That puts the country third in the world in terms of total venture capital funding.

In addition, the UK produced twice as many unicorns - billion-dollar companies - as Germany and three times as many as France. The new unicorns include Rapyd, CMR Surgical, Babylon Health, Sumup, Trainline and Acuris.

The UK’s success was driven by companies in the fintech, AI and deep tech and clean energy sectors.

The number of early stage investments in startups grew by 20 per cent in 2019 to $5.1bn.

Of the highest-value UK rounds, five companies raised more than $250m each, and three of those exceeded $500m in a single round.

UK government Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “These brilliant new numbers demonstrate the strength of the UK tech industry and how it is a sweet spot of our economy.

Our tech companies are not only commanding the confidence of global investors but they are also creating new jobs and wealth across the country.”

FURTHER READING: Private wealth is main capital fuel for startups

FURTHER READING: Big tech’s adventures in fintech: the future or a fad?

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